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Tips: An appropriate name for a drink that’s half espresso and half hot chocolate! This is bittersweet, with a bit of thickness to it, and very rich; although the recipe yields only a trifle over 1-1/2 cups, that’s plenty for 4 servings. Serve this very hot with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream floating atop it as a special brunch beverage, or serve it after a light dinner as a combination of after-dinner dessert and coffee (if caffeine keeps you awake at night, though, serve this early in the day!). Change the flavor of this by substituting a small amount of a compatible liqueur for the vanilla; add the liqueur just before serving (dark rum or orange would go nicely). You can also play with the amounts of espresso powder and/or granulated sugar.

Make sure you use a heavy-bottomed, nonaluminum pot, and remember to stir this almost constantly as it heats. You must use semisweet and unsweetened chocolate of excellent quality—the supermarket stuff won’t do! I’m using chocolate I bought from www.chocolatesource.com, but use your favorite source. You’ll need a small whisk or small slotted spoon to stir this, as well as a heat-resistant rubber spatula.

If there are any leftovers, cool briefly at room temperature, then chill, covering tightly when cold (the mixture will keep for a day or three). Reheat in the microwave at 50% (medium) power for short intervals, stirring thoroughly after each, just until very hot.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 tsp granulated sugar (depending upon your sweetness preferences)
  • 3/4 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • Few grains of salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped medium-fine or as chips
  • 1 ounce best-quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped medium-fine
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • For serving
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream
  • Ground cinnamon

Method:

In a small cup, combine sugar, espresso powder, and salt. Set aside near stovetop.

In one quart, heavy-bottomed, nonaluminum pot, combine milk and water. Heat over low heat, stirring often, until hot. All at once, add sugar-espresso mixture and both chocolates.

Continue heating over low heat, stirring almost constantly with small slotted spoon or whisk. Scrape down sides and bottom of pot once or twice during this time. When mixture is steaming hot, check for simmering: stop stirring very briefly to look for a bubble or two breaking the surface. Once you see that, resume stirring/whisking; cook and stir for 30 to 45 seconds (mixture will thicken slightly). Remove from heat; immediately stir in vanilla.

Divide among small cups or mugs. Garnish with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream and a small pinch of ground cinnamon. Serve hot.

 

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